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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Valenbisi

Valencia is finally getting the bike-share program off the ground this week. It’s called Valenbisi and will initially only cover one part of the city. I don’t know what the schedule is to include the rest of the city in the network. It’s not that I will even use the system but what I am waiting for are the residual effects of the program. Bike sharing has seriously increased bike riding in other cities. With increased ridership comes added safety for cyclists. Automobiles quickly learn that they need to accommodate bikes, not exactly the case yet here in Valencia. Safety in numbers, at least that’s what I hope will happen.

I have to ride very aggressively in order to survive. It would be nice just to be able to relax a bit and not worry about getting run over at every intersection. It would be nice not to shout expletives at drivers for doing incredibly stupid and dangerous things. I still almost never swear in Spanish, the words just don’t come out quickly enough. I think rude drivers understand what “Fucko” means. It has a vaguely Latin sound to it and by the look on my face they know it isn’t some exotic greeting.

This same system in Paris has sparked somewhat of a bike revolution or renaissance in the city. Bike shops claim that the sale of new bikes has never been better. It’s all about changing the status of bike riders. Right now many people think that bikes are for children or poor people who can’t afford a BMW. Making bikes sexy in the minds of citizens shouldn’t take long here in Valencia. I think that bikes will catch on really quickly and in five years the city will look completely different. It will be an enormous change for the better.

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